There are lots of posts, comments and discussion everywhere about Amazon's recent decision only to sell print-on-demand books if the printer used is Amazon's own Booksurge. Perhaps the best analysis I've read so far is this one on O'Reilly Radar, a post which has the added benefit of, at the end, a set of links to other coverage at Publishers Weekly, Library Thing, Booksquare et al. Whatever one might think of the business decision, it seems to signal the end of Amazon as a collaborative network of partners (buyers as well as sellers), and the start of Amazon as a traditional business, competing with publishers and competing for readers. As a consumer, I preferred the old "we can join them we don't need to beat them" approach. Now I have to go to more sites to find what's available and hence I want, instead of being able to compare everything on Amazon. (Maybe everything wasn't in fact on Amazon before, but I thought it pretty much was, apart from the odd obscure out-of-print book. That "user faith" is something the site has now lost, in my mind.)
Author Brian McGilloway has won all kinds of awards and plaudits for his debut novel, Borderlands — among others, it was the (tied) consensus favourite read for 2007 among Euro Crime's reviewers. His second novel, Gallows Lane (no apostrophe), is published this week and looks set to equal the success of his first (take it from me, I've read it). But can he afford to rest on his laurels? Not according to an interview on the Macmillan new writers' blog:
"What is your typical writing day?
My typical writing day starts usually around 8.30 pm. I work full time in Derry which means I leave the house at eight in the morning and get home after five most days. Having a young family, little is done about the house until after the children go to bed around eight. Then, a mug of tea, a quick check of e-mails and I get started. I write for an hour or two per day for the months during which I’m actually writing. I aim to write 1000 words per day, though frequently I manage 2500, and sometimes I struggle to make 250. I tend to write most during the summer holidays, generally late at night."
Makes you think, doesn't it?